TWO young people from Helensburgh and Lomond were recognised at this year’s Argyll and Bute Youth Awards.

The awards recognise the contributions that young people make to Argyll and Bute with nine categories.

Garelochhead’s Chris Berrall, 20, took the ‘youth entrepreneur’ award, while Ciaran Mackenzie from Helensburgh triumphed in the ‘health and wellbeing’ category at the February 1 ceremony at Helensburgh’s Victoria Halls.

Chris, who saw off competition from Amy McIntosh of Campbeltown and Kirsten Colligan of Lochgilphead, won as a result of his dedication to Centre 81 in his home village – and in particular for keeping its hostel running.

Chris started a traineeship at the centre in 2016 and worked on running the 40-bed hostel – but when his placement ended he realised the loss of his role would severely impact the small team and so he chose to volunteer five days a week.

He volunteered for more than 500 hours over six months before being employed on a part time basis to continue to manage the hostel.

Chris, who was involved with Centre 81 when it first started, said: “I enjoy my role and I felt it was important to stay and volunteer and help out when my traineeship ended.

“It was pretty good to be recognised at the awards but quite a surprise to win as I was up against tough competition.”

All at Centre 81 were delighted that Chris had his hard work recognised.

Centre 81 director and acting volunteer manager Tim Lamb said: “Chris has done really well for us. He volunteered for six months solid before we were able to pay him and we would have been lost without him.

“He has done a super job and we are all delighted for him.”

Ciaran, meanwhile, beat the Route 81 Bake Off Team from Helensburgh and Lomond and the Behind the Smile Mental Health Group from Tarbert Academy to win the ‘health and wellbeing’ award.

Ciaran, who previously featured in the Advertiser in October, was inspired to sign up to the Anthony Nolan bone marrow donor register while a pupil at Hermitage Academy – and within months was called to donate to help save a complete stranger’s life..

Since his operation Ciaran has helped to raise awareness of the trust, running the Great North Run in aid of the charity and going back to his old school to talk to pupils about his experiences and to encourage more people to sign up to the register.

Ciaran, 19, said: “Getting the award was amazing but I don’t think I deserved it. I did what anyone would do.

“When you know there is someone who needs your help you can’t let them down, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

“My family were really pleased because there were so many good people who deserved to win.

“I decided to raise money after my operation because of what I had experienced. I wanted to help even more and I’d encourage everyone to consider signing up.”

Four other individuals or groups from Helensburgh and Lomond were nominated at the ceremony – the GIVE Project’s young volunteers for their environmental work, Bobbie Fotheringham for her work on an ‘Acts of Kindness’ project at Route 81 in Garelochhead, Iona Shanks for organising Route 81’s annual awards, and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Youth Forum for its work on tackling issues faced by children from military families in the area.